Job Seeking and Fear.
Readers of my old blog will know that I am often worried about my employment status. While I have a secure job for now, because I have funding, my current funding runs out in October (or shortly thereafter). My position is a term appointment which ends March 28th, 2013. Less than a year away. If I don’t have new funding by then, there’s a very good chance that my position will not be renewed. I like my job. I like my hometown. I like my colleagues. I like my boss. But I clearly need to be doing things, active things, to address my employment situation.
I have a colleague at a rather intimidating east coast university, with whom I’ve done some projects, one of which is ongoing. He arranged for me to have an Adjuct Assistant Professor position there, which I’ve held for a year and a bit now. That’s my academic appointment. It’s strictly research, I don’t teach (though I’ve mentored a tiny bit). But it pays well, and it’s a nice feather. The university has a famous name and a good reputation.
So I spoke to my friend about possibly making my position a little less adjunct, and a little less remote. Would they be interested in having me as full-time faculty? It turns out, there’s at least some interest. The chair of my friend’s department and the school of public health are talking about some kind of joint appointment that would allow me to move there, and become real-life faculty.
This makes me afraid. I’ve been here for 20 years now, nearly. More than half my life. It’s a big frightening thing to contemplate uprooting and moving to a very different place, with very different surroundings. Of course, it’s all just contemplation. There’s a better than 50/50 shot they’ll look at my CV, see the big gap in it (“BOOZE GOES HERE”), and say, “thanks but no thanks”. I haven’t ever been stellarly productive. My main selling point is that what I do is kind of sexy at the moment, and there aren’t a lot of specialists. There are dabblers, but few true experts. And while I’m an expert, I have a short bibliography and shorter funding history.
So I feel very impostery. And insecure. And overwhelmed. And lazy. And flattered. And confused. And hopeful. And afraid.
Fear is part and parcel of being a grown up I think. For me anyway. I step forward each day. Look at what I can do. And usually do something that advances my agenda. Even if it’s small. Even if it’s frightening. Because stagnancy is worse.